Wanna Know the Secret to Motivation: Train, Don’t Workout
Here’s a question I received via Facebook from a strength coach based in Ireland that, once I actually answered it, thought would make for a good blog post:
Q: Got a question for you. A few of my guys have asked me to write about motivation and how to stay motivated to train. This can be such a personal issue that I thought I’d ask a few people who I know and respect to give me their opinions on motivation.
A: As someone who has been in this industry for coming up on a decade now – and likewise, as someone who has participated in sports and been involved with some form of fitness all his life (I got my first cement weight set when I was 13) – I’ve often been asked, “dude, what keeps you motivated to train?”
A few things, in no particular order:
Hot chicks. I think for many, at the end of the day, deep down, we stay motivated to train because we want members of the opposite sex to want to hang out with us. Pretty basic.
But more specifically, actually having a purpose to train is really the meat and potatoes.
Notice I said train, and not “workout.” Far too often, at least in my experience, people tend to workout and not train. What’s the difference, you ask? Well, people who workout just kind of show up and go through the motions, and don’t really have a set plan or rationale for why they showed up that day.
These are the ones who do a few arm circles here, a few lat pulldowns there, pound their Gatorade (because we all know how draining walking on the treadmill while watching Dr. Oz can be), hop on the ab crunch machine, and call it a day.
As a result, they basically do what they always do, and what they’re good at, and not coincidentally, look exactly the same now as they did three years ago. Which is to say fat, weak, and really frustrated.
Of course, this doesn’t apply to everyone – but for 90% of trainees, 90% if the time, it most certainly does.
Taking it a little further, people who workout also tend to be the ones who flip flop from one program to another seemingly on a weekly basis. One week they went to focus on fat loss; the next they want to dabble in MMA (LOL); the following they’re going to give intermittent fasting a try; only to top that off by deciding they want to train for a powerlifting meet that’s next weekend.
If this describes you, is it really that surprising you’re not getting any results?
Conversely, someone who TRAINS has a sense of purpose and conviction. They have a PLAN; or better yet, a goal. They arrive to the gym on a mission and don’t waste any time pitter puttering around trying to figure what they should do that day.
In a way, there’s a sense of “I’m here to wreck some shit, everyone get out of my way, because I’m going to make Susie ElipitcalTrainer and Jonny McBenchEveryday destroy the back of their pants.”
That in of itself is all the motivation one should need.
Simply put – pick a goal for yourself. I don’t care if it’s to lose ten lbs by the end of the month or to squat 300 lbs by the end of summer. Just have SOMETHING to train for. It makes all the difference in the world when you actually have a purpose for why you’re heading to the gym everyday.
Likewise, when dicussing the topic of motivation, making a concerted effort to train around like-minded people is an often overlooked component. It’s no wonder people aren’t getting any stronger or lack motivation to train when they’re surrounded by others who complain when the air conditioning is off and think 50 lb dumbbells are too heavy.
Even if it’s only once per week, make an effort to train in an environment that encourages you to step outside of your comfort zone and breeds “stop being a pussy” (no offense to any ladies that may be reading).
Seriously (boobies) it makes all the difference in the world. I remember back in 2005-2006 when both Eric Cressey and myself would drive 45-60 minutes (both ways), 2-3 times per week, to train at South Side Gym in Stratford, CT (it’s no longer there, unfortunately). Friday afternoon traffic would suck pond water, and I’d literally contemplate driving my car off a cliff, but it was well worth it when we’d walk in and see 8-10 dudes setting up for max-effort bench night. You couldn’t beat the atmosphere – dudes, chalk, rusty barbells, sacrificial goat, angry music, it was awesome.
Every time I left, I’d feel like I got stronger. And, I did, because I was training with people who were a lot (A LOT) stronger than myself.
Moreover, when in the right environment, how could you not get fired up after watching something like this:
The video above was taken the other day at our facility – dude is a freak (and only a sophomore in college).
it’s totally worth the extra 15-60 minute drive it will take to train at another facility. Just think of how glorious it will be to perform your deadlift day without some Zumba class going on in the background! Sure it’s a pain to have to travel, and spend more money on gas, but it may be all you need to light a fire underneath your ass, and actually not suck.
Okay, you don’t really suck, but you know what I’m trying to say. Training around people who will not only push you, but get royally pissed if you blow them off will be all the motivation you need.
Do you have any thoughts or words of wisdom with regards to how you stay motivated to train? It doesn’t necessarily have to pertain to getting stronger, it can be anything – I don’t care. Share them below!
And, do me a favor and click the “like” button, because, you know, this was an awesome blog post, and more people need to read it!